Next week begins the holiday shopping frenzy. Along with all the shopping, more shoplifting. That's why deputies will hit the stores next week to nab thieves.
If you haven't been to the mall or any of your other favorite stores, holiday shopping is in full swing. There are lines and traffic at one area Target, but cops say they're not surprised and they've been preparing for weeks.
Jessica Bussell is doing a little Christmas shopping, but she's waiting for midnight Thanksgiving to hit the aisles to get really serious. Jessica Bussell says, "We'll start out at Target, then make our way to Old Navy and Kohls."
That's when she gets 60% of her Christmas shopping done like 226 million others who stock up on the Black Friday weekend. The Knox County Retail Theft Task Force is ready for those who want the goods without paying. Knox County Sheriff's Office Lt. George Edlund says, "Inside city. Outside city. We're covering it all."
Last year, Knox County arrested 328 people and recovered more than $60,000 in stolen property. They also towed 128 cars with stolen stuff inside. This year too it's zero tolerance. Lt. Edlund says, "If they take a 19 cent Bic pen they're going to jail."
It's not just shoplifting. Cops will be watching parking lots to keeping you safe. If something terrible happens like the Knoxville Center Mall shooting we had here in 2008, they're just as ready. Lt. Edlund says, "We are prepared for that. It's part of our training. That's what we do every day."
Bussell says, "I've been doing it for 6 years. I've always had a great experience. I've never had a bad time."